Skip to comments.California's Central Valley To Be First Section Of High Speed Rail System
Posted on 11/08/2010 9:20:18 PM PST by gunsequalfreedom
California's Central Valley To Be First Section Of California's High Speed Rail System
The first section will be Merced-to-Fresno or Fresno-to-Bakersfield
The bill for the first section will be $4.3 Billion (with "B") and will be a dollar for dollar match with state funds. Trains will travel at speeds of 220 miles per hour, meaning you will get from Merced to Fresno or Fresno to Bakersfield really faaaaast!
The trip from Merced to Fresno by car takes 59 minutes. With the new high speed rail system you will be able to make the trip in about 15 minutes - once the train pulls out of the station. Add the time to park your car, get tickets, pass through security, get on the train and get the train moving and our bet is by car will be faster.
Is anyone going to ride this thing or will we have a $4.9 billion empty train going back and forth between Merced and Fresno?
Eventually the final first phase will be an 800 mile trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Funding for all 800 miles, however, is not secured and you have to wonder if it ever will be. Once the reality of an empty train going back and forth through the Central Valley at a cost of billions of dollars sinks in, some will no doubt be using the word boondoggle. Some already are.
Don’t you know that the choo choo crowd subscribes to the “if you build it, they will come” philosophy? Look at New Mexico’s train to nowhere...
Do you have a link to New Mexico’s train to nowhere? WHat is it called?
That is relevant only if you live at the railway station in one city and work at the railway station in another.
However people who live 10-20 miles away from both stations will need to figure out how to get to and from those stations. If they take surface transit that will eat all the time savings.
It is also important to know how much the ticket will cost compared to the gas and car wear cost. Sometimes speed at any expense is not an optimal solution.
California is flush with money, right?
...or is that Cal;ifornia is flushing money...down this blackhole.
The “Rail Runner.”
Boy terrorists sure would find this a hard target huh?
waste of money, waste of time.
Industrial strength stooooopid.
Build more freeways and runways.
Plus, is there big demand to go from Merced to Fresno or Fresno to Bakersfield...
If not, is it stopping all along the way...
If so, it won’t get up to speed. Hope somebody is picking you up at either end
Speaking of perverted weirdos that Republican homo who was arrested last year outside a gay bar and then came “out”, Roy Ashburn of Bakersfield was the deciding vote to put thsis boondoggle on the ballot. It was one of the first sign to those around him that the former conservative was going into mental meltdown.
Isn’t Central Valley where they are shutting down the farms because of that smelt fish?
No more money for California, how’s that sound?
I also noticed that in the architect’s drawing all people are shown with no luggage. What is the chance that people moving around Central Valley aren’t carrying half a ton of stuff with them all the time? If they aren’t carrying anything, why they are even going themselves? Those trains seem to be useful only for office workers (and only those who can’t live near work.)
"Let's see here: this state is broke beyond belief; every train project this state has ever done loses more and more money year-on-year like Swiss clockwork -- THEREFORE, let's build another black-hole, money pit train system."
Psychotics all, neither more nor less, just as our former colleague, Willie Green, is.
It’s called the New Mexico Rail Runner, aka Richardson’s Railroad
“The bill for the first section will be $4.3 Billion (with “B”) and will be a dollar for dollar match with STATE FUNDS.
So, Kalifornia suddenly has $2.15 BILLION to burn on this?
And it’s only the first leg in an umpteen billion dollar utopian wet dream.
I once had the misfortune to witness San Jose’s “Light Rail” being built.
It passed by me often, ALWAYS virtually empty.
Twenty years later it may finally have some riders, but it wasted millions for at least a decade.
High speed rail for a trip you can make by car in an hour is beyond stupid, it is so stupid we need a new word for it.
The only use this really has is in replacing the plane traffic from los angeles to san francisco. that would make sense if we were facing major airport congestion on either end, but I don’t think that BUR, LAX or SFO are in bad shape. OAK’s line for southwest can get ugly, which is why i use business select.
it would be more interesting to see if it takes seasonal commuters off of the 5 - i.e. students, but there can’t be enough of them going between the bay area and LA to make an appreciable difference.
Thank you. Here I was searching the news sites and all I had to do was search FR. Silly me.
And we won't be able to resist union demands because we'll be losing millions while the system is idle.
Did I mention that currently California is borrowing million$ a day to cover unemployment checks?
Will that money be paid back? Will the bonds for this boondogle ever be paid? Will the Feds bail California out again?
The present Governor calls himself a Republican...Lots of RINOs in the world.
My sister and her husband will loose a few more acres of their small vinyard south of FResno if it runs in the Santa Fe right of way. They lost some a few years ago when SF added another line...
Cut off the water.
Send in the trains.
220 mph is piddly speed compared with a 500 mph passenger jet
instead of sinking tens and hundreds of billions of dollars into money-losing rail networks why don’t we improve our access and logistics for air travel?
and if we improved our security screening so that people didn’t have to arrive 2 hours early then air travel would be more convenient and appealing
They’re going to call it “Fresno Area Rapid Transit.” FART, for short.
I've been chronicling this half-billion dollar boondoggle since December 2005. And that's just the construction costs. Operating costs are $23 million per year of which only 10-13% is recovered at the farebox (depending on whose figures are used). You can read all the articles here:
Those flights are under 1 hour, and the distance is 347 miles as crow (or an airplane) flies. But obviously the train can't do that, so it will have to go around the mountains, and it can't (unlike the airplane) keep the top speed most of the way. The 220 mph top speed will be probably like 150 mph average, and the trip will take 2 to 2.5 hours.
People who rarely go from SF to LA probably will pick the airplane. People who regularly go there will have a choice to spend 1-1.5 hours extra on the road (one way) or to pay extra (maybe) for the airfare. Considering that most travelers are businessmen, they will likely stick to airplanes, especially because the infrastructure is already in place, and because if you are switching flights at LAX or SFO then taking another airplane is a logical choice, as opposed to leaving airport and taking taxi to the rail station (that taxi alone will eat all the savings.)
I don't go to LAX frequently, but when I did Southwest ran a bus-like service there, and very cheap too. I used Oakland's airport only once or twice and don't remember how it looks like or what lines it might have.
it would be more interesting to see if it takes seasonal commuters off of the 5 - i.e. students
I often go south on 101 and north on I-5. I also traveled on I-5 from San Jose to San Diego. I don't have an impression that I-5 is particularly busy to begin with (outside of LA,) but when it is busy it's because of those huge commercial tractor trailers, not because of students. Besides, students in the Bay area are probably at Stanford, and those can hail from anywhere, LA being probably not a likely origin.
This is so FU&$ING STUPID it boggles the mind. I work 3 days a week in the central valley. I-5 and Hwy 99 work just fine. There is 20+% unemployment and nothing worth taking a train to. Who is going to ride? What job are they commuting to? How much does this cost? And who is getting paid for the environmental study....that is who needs to be taken out first.....figuratively of course.
Colossal waste of money and resources. There’s a perfectly good freeway, straight as an arrow that goes right through Californicatia. Nobody’s going to use this thing.
Ask New Mexico how well their rail works.
Bill Richardson spent several hundred million of taxpayer money acquiring a line from Belen thru Albuquerque to Bernalillo -- then building a new track into Santa Fe.
Then, to great fanfare, they started regular passenger train service on the line. Over it's first year, operating expenses amounted to $24 million.
Fare receipts: A tad over $3 million.
That's right. For every dollar of revenue, there were $8 in expenses. The taxpayers, of course, have to pony up the remaining $7.
Great idea, huh? Only government can dream up schemes like this. Especially Democrat governments.
Oh, I get it. They’ll use a bunch of trains to haul millions of barrels of water to drought-stricken farmers in the Valley...what super-geniuses.
Actually, this is a brilliant maneuver!
The train, wherever it is built, will be a colossal failure. If the first segment is in a high use corridor (e.g., Gilroy to SF or Anaheim to LA), the failure could doom the rest of the project.
By building it in the low use corridor between noplace and nowhere they can (and will) claim that the failure is simply due to its not being connected to high population areas and that it will be a success when such connections are made. Further, they will argue that all the money spent so far will have been as good as thrown down a rat hole unless such further connections are made. By the time the public realizes (if they ever do) that the only result was that even more money was thrown down the rat hole, it will be too late.
Maybe 100 Stanford & USC students will ride it twice a year, to cheer their teams on the road on the taxpayers’ dime. Whooppee.
I've traveled this route on many occasions and not many people use the existing Amtrak service. What makes them think that people are going to switch from cars or air service? I also heard that, in order to pay for it, that the cars would have to be full 24 hours a day, 7 days a week... ain't gonna happen. Sad, sad, sad waste of non existent money.
I’m down here in Modesto and I can’t think of one possible reason why I wouldn’t drive 99 or I-5 to get to Fresno, Bakersfield or north to Sacramento.
Even with Amtrak you’ve gotta transfer to a bus to get to some locations like over the Grapevine or into San Francisco.
Nope, I’ll just drive my Rendezvous and watch out for CHIPS.
I'm in transportation engineering. We no longer build freeways or runways. Freeway construction (or almost any type of hew highway construction) is dead due to the fact that the federal gas tax is fixed and will not be raised again. Ever. Moreover, the improved efficiency of automobile engines means we will use less gas in the future, thus less revenue. Meanwhile, oil has gone from under $11 a barrel in 1998 to $87 a barrel today; thus, the cost of building and maintaining highways has more than doubled in that time frame. Most state transportation departments are struggling to maintain what they have and do small safety or congestion improvements. Big new highway projects are being postponed or canceled altogether.
I seriously doubt we will ever see a 10 percent increase in freeway mileage in this country, especially as oil gets over $100 a barrel.
Runways? Just try to add a runway to any commercial airport. The public opposition has reached a new level. And what is going to happen to the airline routes less than 500 miles in length when fuel keeps going up? Most fuel is used in take-off; thus, the first routes the airlines will cut will be the short routes. The fifty seat planes are already being retired ahead of schedule. People flying short routes will face higher fares and fewer flights.
Yes, California's proposed high-speed rail system is vastly overdone. The value added in the higher speed is not economically justified. Most of it is unlikely to be built. They actually have a very popular conventional rail corridor now, second only to the Northeast Corridor. They would do well to build on that success, not try this high-tech budget-buster. Of course, it is California, and they just reelected Jerry Brown.
In reality, we will, in most cases, choose what we engineers call the "null alternative," do nothing. We lack as a nation the will to do any major capital project, and very soon we will lack the capital as well.
I also say drill for all our oil and build more nukes.
Crazy talk I know. Just crazy.
Don’t forget that when you throw in the TSA grope security measures for the passengers, people will be staying away in droves.
San Fran on the other hand......
Yes it is!
Chattanooga Choo Choo - Glenn Miller Orchestra
And what out of the way routes are included in those 800 miles? What am I missing here?
Last trip I made driving from SF to LA was 382 miles.
How ya been?
Thats just crazy.
Yep. They will have to shut it down due to the dust from the desert I mean former farms.
Will you have to go through the TSA “Grope and Poke” to get on the train?
I'm with you on both points and have been for years. Unfortunately, peak oil production in this country was 1970. Even if we have every off-shore location, ANWR, the shale oil in Colorado, and a pipeline from the tar sands in Alberta, we cannot produce enough oil at an acceptable cost to meet our needs. That is a simple geological reality. All the cheap oil has been found. Everything from here on out is going to cost more and involve more risk and uncertainty.
We can build more nuclear plants and should have been doing so for the last three decades, but we cannot build enough of them fast enough. Wind and solar? Forget about it. The "renewable energy sources" are mainly fantasies and wishful thinking.
Here's the bottom line: we use 70 percent of our oil for transportation, and over 95 percent of our transportation depends on oil. Natural gas works for large vehicles, but the tanks are too big for compact cars. Hydrogen fuel cell technology is like cold fusion, a mix of laboratory fact and science fiction.
There are no good answers out there. We can conserve and be more efficient, but we can't go buy hybrids and electric vehicles and think we can continue business as usual. The Obama administration, incredibly, is stuck in the past, trying to resurrect failed auto companies rather than seeing reality as it is unfolding. The best for which we can hope is that American corporations can drill where the best prospects are, build as many nuclear plants as possible, rebuild the freight railroad system, and do the R&D that will give us some options down the road.
The U.S. Military is very concerned about fuel availability in the next five years and the lack of capital commitments to finding it, as expressed in the Joint Operation Environment (JOE) report in March of this year. They see the period of 2012 to 2015 as critical in terms of supply. The German military has essentially the same viewpoint.
One thing is certain: getting to work each day and getting from one city to another is going to take more time and more money in the future.